Of blogging, dreams & apathy …

If you’d been anywhere near social media during the week from about September 8 to 15, I have no doubt you will have seen some reference to the Problogger Event on the Gold Coast.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed #pbevent – but it’s a lot!

What is PBEvent?  The PB team says, “The ProBlogger Training Event has been created for bloggers of all levels to come together to learn and network – with the goal of building better blogs”.  And from my experience that about sums it up!  Two jam packed days of all things blog … & fun & food, with a whole load of inspiration thrown in!

I was fortunate enough to win a ticket to attend after entering a competition some months back through Oz Blog Hosting.  The truth is I would never have considered going had this not happened.  Why?

1.  Not in the family budget.
2.  Fear!
3.  Fear!
4.  Oh & of course, fear!

You get the idea.

I entered the comp on a whim after seeing a share on Facebook – never expecting I had the remotest chance of winning.  It just goes to show, you never know when life will throw you an opportunity & dare you to take it.  I took it & I feel so lucky, elated, overwhelmed, daunted, terrified & frustrated for reasons I shall try to articulate in the following.

My PBEvent journey began when I won the ticket & we decided that would make the trip to the Gold Coast as a family, four peas in a pod.  Decision made, plans in place, the physical & emotional journey began on the Wednesday before, as we jettisoned ourselves in the wee hours of the morning from country Victoria north to the Sunshine Coast.  It was a long day, filled with hours of driving, waiting, whining, wailing, flying, screaming, waiting, whining & a little more wailing – not all of which came from the children.  

Upon arrival at our accommodation, I was frazzled & ready to call the whole thing off – it felt too hard, too much & too easy to just stay with my family & hide from taking a chance.

Then there was this;

 View of Gold Coast from Balcony - #pbevent

 First trip to the Beach - Gold Coast

After a family walk on the beach & splash in the water, some of my equilibrium returned & I felt more relaxed & ready to challenge myself to all things PBEvent … right up until I actually had to make it part of my ‘in real life’ actions by attending the pre-PBEvent catch up with the wonderful Blog Chicks (#bcevent) community … it was then I lost my nerve & had to be coaxed by my partner J-man into even getting in the car.  
 
 Fellow blog chicks - #bcevent, pre-#pbevent
Beautiful Blog Chicks – L to R – Amanda from Cooker & a Looker, Janet from Redland City Living & Nicole from What Can I Cook?

Lucky for me he held my hand all the way, I got there & the rest, as they say … is a shiteload of information & emotional overload that I am still trying to process.  Well, maybe ‘they’ don’t say that, but I certainly do!

Once I settled in, ie.,  a couple glasses of bubbly later, I was fortunate enough to meet some great people, all just as nervous & excited as I was.  The hardest part, it turned out, was not meeting others, it was being able to hear them over the din of excited voices eclipsing the room!  

 More beautiful blog chicks - #bcevent
More beautiful blog writing ladies – L to R – Shae from Free Range in Suburbia & Grace from With Some Grace

It was a fabulous & exhausting evening, held at the Stingray Bar in the QT Hotel, where the conference was to kick off the following morning.  After a frenzy of meeting & greeting lots of new faces, it was back to the family & many hours of broken sleep, filled with anticipation, excitement & anxiety.
 
Cue the commencement of the conference & from the opening keynote address from Problogger founder, Darren Rowse, I knew I was in for an intense time, crowded into an manmade ecosystem of passion, inspiration & encouragement from those who have made blogging work for them in ways I can’t even begin to comprehend.  While I sat, willing, waiting, wanting to absorb it all, to ride the growing wave of enthusiasm & sparks of wonder & possibility shooting around the room, I found myself withdrawing, curling up into a ball & inwardly cringing, telling myself, “I don’t belong here”; “I cannot recreate that kind of success”; “I don’t have the courage to take the risk to build a dream”.  Then Darren said something that made me stop that hideous train of thought & listen, not to the doubts & the faint whisper of cynicism, but to the possibilities.  He said;

“Even wobbly courage is still courage.” 

 – Darren Rowse

 

This resonated with me because I always tend to see courage as being audacious & confident, not meek & tentative.   If I was in a place where feeling a little uncertain & wonky, but ‘having a go’ is considered brave, then maybe, just maybe, I was in the right place after all.

 

#pbevent keynote address - Darren Rowse  
 

“Fear is a signal that something important is about to happen, pay attention to it. Don’t let it stop you, because that something could be amazing!”

- Darren Rowse

This statement also hit home, as I had that feeling of gut wrenching, hand shaking, verge of tears producing fear in the lead up & upon entering into the rabble of excited participants .  I can admit that I almost doubled back when I arrived, but to my delight & wonderous relief, the first face I saw was that of Emily from Have a laugh on me, whose blog I love & adore reading & who has been a regular reader & commenter on mine!  Even more to my surprise & ever lasting gratitude Em recognised me!  The world steadied, a little, & looking back on that moment, I think it was then that I took a step forward into that “something amazing”.

Over the next two days I heard a range of stories from those who have found their place in the world, having both personal & business success in the blogosphere & whose passion & drive to live their dream has come after much hard work & commitment to what they love.  Each in their own way expressed that doing what they do now, has made their lives meaningful, where it once it may not have been.  Some of the more profound words that are still repeating in my head include;

“I don’t want to just inspire you, I want to inspire you to action.”

- Amy Porterfield

Find out more about Amy at www.AmyPorterfield.com
 

 

“Change is something you have to do for yourself, don’t let anyone else do it for you.”

 

 “Take yourself from pretty good, to way better.”

- Tsh Oxenreider

Find out more about Tsh at www.simplemom.net

 

“Inspiration without implementation is empty.”

 
“There are going to be haters … fight back with more awesome.”

- Trey Ratcliff

Find out more about Trey at www.stuckincustoms.com
 
Another speaker who caught my attention for her heart felt approach to blogging was the lovely Hailey Bartholomew, whose journey came from being at a place in her life where she felt “down” & “bored” & after seeking advice, decided to put more focus on the things in her life she was grateful for to find her happiness again.  Her project, 365 grateful has become an amazing & life changing journey for Hailey & so many others.  What I saw in Hailey was such a genuine & emotional connection to her blog & other work & this touched a part of me that has been quiet for what seems like a very long time.  I have been so caught up in the drudgery of the day-to-day, part of me that used to appreciate the small things has become depressed.  That saddens & frightens me.
 
Find out more about Hailey at www.365grateful.com & http://www.youcantbeserious.com.au/
 
One of the reasons that pushed me to not shy away from going to PBEvent, despite my fears & uncertainties, was seeing Clare Bowditch on the list of speakers. Already a big fan of Clare’s music – the chance to get up close to a favourite musician was an opportunity I really couldn’t pass up.  I managed to snaffle a seat in the front row & after hearing Clare speak & watching her perform, I can say I am an even bigger fan girl now – she is incredible.  Beautiful, natural, hilarious, engaging & man, can she sing!  This was definitely a highlight of my PBEvent!
 
 ClareBowditch
 
 

“How do we do what we were born to do? We begin.”

 

“Sometimes it’s our suffering that leads us to do what we’re meant to do in the world.”

– Clare Bowditch

Find out more about Clare at www.clarebowditch.com
 
There was so many more highlights that would make this more of an essay than a post, and I could bang on about the wonders of speakers, the venue & the food, but there is a level of personal truth that I am not addressing & I suspect is important here. Having read other round up & ‘learnings’ posts about PBEvent, I can see how impacted attenedees were & the passion & direction it ignited in them, which I am happy to see, for them.  

While my experience at PBEvent was weighty & insightful, I felt & still feel like I was there, but the messages being sent were muffled, stifled if you like, by my own sense of disconnection & indifference to my life & the world around me.  I think what I am trying to say it that, my biggest learning from PBEvent is that I am being smothered by my own apathy.  

There was a part of me that wanted to reach out & embrace the whole thing, open arms, no holds barred, flag flying, ground-worshiping, I-can-do-this-too embracing. The kind that catapults you into action & keeps you moving forward, pushes you to stand up & be counted, to stay the path & do the ‘thing/s’ you want deeply & passionately to do. But there is a bigger part of me that is sitting, pillowed in a growing lethargy that is gaining mass & suffocating that wanting to the point of going numb.

I have every reason not to feel so dispassionate – three in particular, my partner & children – yet I find myself there, an onlooker to my own journey, present but not connected to the things I want most – family, friends, laughter, love, dreams … meaning.  And I hate it.

What I want is what I saw in those who stood on stage & spoke of how they came to be there in that moment, on that day, at that conference.  I don’t necessarily mean I want to be the one of the stage talking about how starting a blog lead to … (insert personal journey here).  More than that, what I saw were everyday people who have found their place, doing what makes them happy & who are strongly connected to their lives & the world around them.  What I saw were everyday people who have found a place of inner self-assurance & confidence that says, “I am doing what I was born to do” & to me that makes them extraordinary.

That is what I want for myself.  That is what I took home from PBEvent.  This is where I begin.

Cheers,

Jodie xx

Cook!  Eat!  Enjoy!

Oh by the way – just so you know I’m not all doom & gloom, here’s some other highlights of my time at PBEvent;

 food

 I don’t know what these were called – but amazeballs!!

 fivefrogs

Meeting Michaela from Five Frogs on a Blog – honest, caring & hilarious. Also hanging out with Allison from Talking Frankly & Kim from Melbourne Mum.  Great women, so warm & genuine!  Love your guts ladies!!  

 samjohnson

Seeing actor Samuel Johnson riding a unicycle in a conference room filled with 400+ bloggers!  Also, amazing man doing a wonderful thing to raise awareness for breast cancer – ‘Don’t fall into the booby trap!’ – check out www.loveyoursister.org for more.  

 

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. says

    You’re amazing. I loved meeting you and finding a kindred spirit – somebody that was feeling the fear – and yet you were so amazingly welcoming and supportive. Plus, you’re officially my new fave foodie blogger which as you know is high praise indeed coming from somebody without a clue. You’ll go places… I’m sure Dr Seuss said something about this. (Pause while I google it)

    Yes Congratulations!
    Today is your day.
    You’re off to Great Places!
    You’re off and away!

    You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes
    You can steer yourself
    any direction you choose.
    You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
    And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

    Big love xoxoxox

  2. says

    I know exactly how you felt because I felt it too !! You handled it way better than I did – so a HUGE well done to you !!!
    Thanks for the reminders of what I learned at PB !
    Have the best day !
    Me

  3. says

    I think I might put all the comments on sticky notes and place them around my office.
    I couldn’t get to the event, so posts like this are a must read for me. Thank you!

    • says

      Great idea Becc! I have some of the quotes I can remember written in a notebook I carry with me most of the time – am also listening to Clare Bowditch on repeat when I want to go back there & remember things! :)

  4. says

    Jods, this is probably the best summary of PB I have read. And I agree. How can they have just found this is for them, it just seems so easy and so why the hell can’t we recreate what they are doing? Maybe we just have to slowly dissect where we are going, what we want and find our niche somewhere. There was so much to take in, I often felt at times it was like a life coaching session and I was out of my league in terms of blog stuff, but maybe that is okay, for now. Maybe over time we’ll grow and learn and go back and read what we missed and put the puzzle together. I LOVED that you were one of the first people I meet, your smile, laugh and attitude is gorgeous. Here’s to us, ambling along, taking one step at a time to greatness!! Em xx

    • says

      Oh wow Em – thank you for saying that – I take it as high praise coming from you!! I love your take on all this – ambling our way to greatness – brilliant!! :) Can’t tell you how much relief I felt when I saw you standing there when I rocked up -it meant so much!! xx

  5. says

    What an amazing adventure for you and your family! I think it’s so special that you all made the trip to the coast. Thanks for the great summary of the event. I wish I could have gone, but lack of fundage and fear stopped me.

    • says

      It really was an adventure for us all Renee! The kids had an amazing time with J-man & his brother while I trekked to highs & lows of Problogger! It was an intense & tiring time but am so glad I did it. I would love to get to meet you at something like this – daunting as it is, the people you meet are amazing & the learnings are still coming through! Well worth feeling the fear & doing it anyway!! :)

  6. says

    Good on you Jodie for overcoming your fears. Bummer about not being able to catch up. I see you were in good hands though with Janet and Amanda, who I’ve met and I probably should’ve warned you of. They could’ve led you astray! (Just kidding Amanda and Janet. LOL) Looks like a wonderful time.

    Anne xx

    • says

      Thanks so much Anne! I am so sad we didn’t get a chance to catch up – we weren’t able to get organised enough to get down your way as first intended. We will be back up that way soon though I think, so will try again!

      I loved hanging put with Janet & Amanda – it is hard to lead astray those already well strayed!! Hahaha! Gorgeous ladies who made it so much easier to deal with so many new faces & so much information! xx

  7. says

    Love this post Jodie. I think everyone took away the lesson in relation to wobbly courage. Where was our photo?? We didn’t get one! Shame, we will just have to meet again. ;)
    My goodness I relate to this post and I have to write those sayings down. You ignited my memory. Thank you for welcoming me into the fold of bloggers and looking out for me. I didn’t realize you were feeling the way you were pre conference. You were meant to be at that conference.

    • says

      Can’t believe we never took a selfie together Bec! Very disappointed about that – but as you say, we’ll just have to do it again – I’d be up for that!! Loved meeting & hanging out with you, you have such a beautiful outlook & warmth that I was instantly drawn to & comforted by. It made things so much easier to contend with.

      I think I am beginning to really see that I was meant to be there. Just as you were! xx

  8. says

    Jodie, I’m with Em – I am sooo glad you were one of the first people I met on Thursday night, you have such a welcoming way about you, you made me feel special and helped me to relax when I was super duper nervous!

    Love that piccie of us and Amanda – any chance you could email me a copy?!

    • says

      The feeling’s mutual Janet! I knew your lovely face as soon as I saw you & was so excited to get to meet & talk with you!! You are so genuine & warm & I just love that blogging has brought so much to your life when you needed it. It is so inspiring. Will definitely email you the pic – I love it too – such gorgeous ladies!! :) xx

  9. says

    Good on you Jodie for going with your wobbly courage and making some fab new friends. I can understand your trepidation. The blogging community always seems so confident! Great post. xx

    • says

      Thanks so much Erin! I am so glad I pushed through the fear – I really did meet some amazing people & am feeling more positive about the whole experience with each new day! :)

  10. says

    Awesome post lovely! It was a blast meeting you (and thanks for the shout-out!) STILL haven’t received that photo of us feathering up the town. I’ll email you when (if!) I receive it! I’m glad you worked through your fears to make it. I feel like my life is richer for having met you! Kx

    • says

      Welcome Amanda! I am still such a newbie too this whole blogging world too – but I can say I am loving it more & more. If I can pass on any hints or tips that help you I will – feel free to ask any questions you have – I know how daunting it can all seem! Thanks for stopping by – I will be dropping in for a visit to your blog very soon! :)

  11. says

    I am so glad you had a wonderful time. I was fortunate enough to win a ticket thanks to Kelly as well but sadly due to an extended family death didn’t make it, thank goodness for the virtual aspect. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses lovely

    • says

      I am sorry you couldn’t be there Rhianna. It would have been a real treat to meet you. Hopefully next year for both of us?? How good is the virtual pass – such a fantastic tool!! xx

  12. says

    This is such a fantastic post, Jodie. So well written and full of honesty and raw emotion. I feel like I actually went along to the PB conference with you after reading it (and hopefully one day I will be able to too :) Congratulations on winning your ticket! I think you are enormously brave to attend the conference without knowing anyone beforehand. I love your beautiful blog and look forward to reading it long into the future. I love how you’ve included so many awesome quotes as well. One of my favourite quotes, which fits in so well with your bravery in this post, is “feel the fear, and do it anyway” :)

    • says

      Thanks so much for that feedback Lizzy! I have to admit I have laboured over this post more than most. I struggle to express my feelings sometimes, but think I really needed to do this for myself. If it provides some food for thought or insight to others then that is a happy bonus for me! The blogging love is mutual – love yours & would be great to meet IRL someday! I love this quote- will be putting that in my notebook – or My little book of wisdom – as I like to call it! Appreciate you stopping by. :) xx

    • says

      Awww … you’re so lovely Shelley! Thanks for that – the more time that goes by, the more I feel like I was meant to be there. I don’t know about brave, but I didn’t want to miss out on a chance I may not get again.

      I am do grateful for the great online community I am part of appreciate all the support I get from you! Thank you lovely lady! :)

  13. says

    Hi Jodie, I’m so sorry I missed the event, I would have loved to have met you and some of the other wonderful bloggers. How great that you won your ticket! – and then decided to take the whole family. Sounds like it was well worth the effort. Still hope to meet you at some future event. x

    • says

      Same here Leanne. I would love to meet you someday! I was so fortunate to win the ticket, it was a big shock! Lucky for us we have family on the Gold Coast & had a place to stay. I wish I could say the travelling was fun – but no, it was not – though, as you say, it was well worth it! Thanks for stopping by – maybe we can both get to next year’s event! :) xx

    • says

      Welcome Emily! It was an emotional roller coaster – but the more time I have to reflect, the more I realise how important it was for me to be there. Well worth all the emotional drama, that is for certain! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  14. says

    Jodie – it was nice to meet you amidst all the chaos and chatter of Problogger. You have done such a great job wrapping up the learnings, and what you say resonates with me very much. I think you are hard on yourself in talking of apathy and dispassion – I read that it is fear holding you back and that you are full of passion and energy to go and ‘do what you were born to do’. I feel fired up too.

    • says

      Hey Kathy! What a crazy couple of days indeed! I am still processing it all & trying to connect back to all the lovely people I met. Thanks for the feedback on my wrap up – I have to admit, I struggled to finish & hit ‘publish’ on this one. Also, I think you are right, I am letting my fear cripple me & the more I reflect on the conference, the more I see that. I am digging in & deep & hope I can find the passion & energy – I think I can. Watch this space … :)

  15. says

    I’m so glad you kicked those fears to the curb and went along – these events seem to inspire many to do many wonderful things. The coming together of likeminded people so often does. I am more certain than ever that I’ll be heading along next year. x

    • says

      Thanks Bron! It was a big deal for me to go, but I am so grateful I got the opportunity. It is a really incredible vibe, albeit overwhelming. Now I have been, I am going to do everything I can to get to next year’s – it really is worth the effort & fear!! Would love the opportunity to meet you. :)

    • says

      Welcome Emma! I am glad too – even if I had to borrow it from my partner to get me through the door! Am one lucky lady for the opportunity that is for sure. Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  16. says

    Wow what a post.
    Firstly, it was so good to meet you – thanks for coming up to say hello :)
    Secondly – I’m sorry you feel overwhelmed and apathetic. I truly believe (and hope) you have to start believing in yourself and then good things will come.
    Maybe the stuff learnt at PBEvent doesn’t only mean you need to kick goals with blogging, but in many other parts of you life too – find the things you love, that you want to do and have a low sense of apathy about, and do them with all of your being.

    • says

      Welcome Carly! I was very excited to meet you, you really are an inspiration. The more time I have to absorb it all, the more I can feel the sense of apathy shifting & shedding. I know that I owe it to myself & my family to believe in & trust myself more – you are absolutely right – it is just a road less travelled for me & not an easy one to tread – but I will & hopefully I can appreciate the good things I have & the ones to come.

      Thanks Carly – I truly am grateful I got to meet you. :)

    • says

      Welcome Lynda! It was a big few days, but well worth all the angst & effort. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity & fingers crossed, can do it all again next year! Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  17. iSophie says

    This was a great read, I am glad you pushed yourself to go, I think I would have been almost as nervous myself. I have never been to any blogging event, scary stuff! A very delayed #teamIBOT from last week. :)

  18. says

    HOW did I miss this post?
    I’ll never forget sitting, listening to Claire Bowditch, sniffing wildly and trying not to cry, feeling so confronted by her question “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”

    I still have no freaking idea, just quietly. Although it would be nice to raise two children who can find their own shoes in the morning!

    Great post lovely and it was great to hang with you. xx

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